Thursday, 5 April 2012

Massaman Curry -Thai Cuisine

                                          I chanced upon a jar of 'massaman curry’ paste and bought it, without even the slightest idea of how I was going to use it. Neither have I tasted a thai cuisine, nor I have cooked one before, but the very first thai food I made has topped our list of favourite chicken curries. It is said that massaman curry was introduced in Thailand by the muslim traders from India who visited there and I certainly don’t doubt it, as it tastes and smells exactly the way it is prepared here in muslim households. My understanding of their cuisine is the result of my very close association with a muslim family during my childhood days, which was a decade old relationship. I have watched with fear and pity,  the old man of the house, pray and slit the throat of the chickens and throw them on the street, head and body apart with life still lingering on to the body, shaking. During festival time, the sight of the men sewing the left over lamb meat, marinated in salt and turmeric powder and hang them across to sun dry, would leave every passerby drooling at the smell and sight. I have constantly been surrounded by the smell of dhal and mutton cooking from their kitchen, watched the ladies sincerely read the Quran, along with a frail and pretty looking old lady, with heavy wrinkles, clad in pristine white sari who came to teach them daily, which was sometimes interesting and sometimes boring. This family got the first Tv set in the entire area and I remember the days we all gathered everyday precisely at 5 pm to watch 'vikram and Vethal' and the historical year, when the big house was completely blocked by hundreds of people who flooded in to watch the funeral of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I can go on forever rambling, as 'Food' brings back a lot of memories !

 I don’t usually favour store bought ready made mixes, but in this case, ingredients like shrimp paste, galangal, lemongrass are hard to come across here and hence I have used the curry paste bought from the store, if you can, I would suggest to make your own curry paste. Once the contents of the jar gets over, I am planning to give it a try, substituting ginger for galangal, lemon juice for lemon grass and so on. The recipe is adapted from, I skipped, few of the ingredients given in the original to make the curry, ( some of the ingredients like adding peanuts to mutton curry did not suit our taste and it is not done here either) Though, I used a curry paste from a jar, I have listed the ingredients for the curry paste exactly, as given in the original recipe.

Chicken                               500 gms
Shallots                               1 cup
Potato                                  1 medium sized ( about 1 cup)
Cardamom                          4
Cinnamon                            1
Oil                                        2 Tbsp
Massaman curry paste      2 Tbsp
Thick Coconut milk           1/2 cup( 1st extraction)
Thin Coconut milk             1 cup ( 2nd extraction)
Fish sauce                            1/2 tbsp (optional)
Dark brown sugar              1/2 tbsp ( use less if you prefer a spicy curry)

Heat oil in a pan, add the massaman curry paste and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Add the chicken and stir for a few minutes until the masala coats well to the chicken.
Add the shallots, cubed potatoes, cardamom, cinnamon, thin coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes.
Add the thick coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, stir well and cook on low heat, closed for about 5 minutes.
Serve with rice or roti.

For the massaman curry paste
Dried red chillies     10  ( roasted, soaked and deseeded)
Pepper                       1/2 tsp ( roasted )
Cumin                        1 tsp ( roasted )
Cloves                        2 ( roasted )
Cardamom                2 ( roasted )
Shrimp paste            1 tsp  ( roasted )
Nutmeg                      1/2 tsp
Salt                             1 tsp
Galangal                    1 tsp
Coriander roots        1 tsp
Lemon grass              1 Tbsp
Sallots                         1/4 cup
Garlic                          2 Tbsp

For a spicy curry use about 4 Tbsp of curry paste and upto 750gms of chicken can be used. In that case, use about 4 tbsp of oil to stir the paste.
I can assure you that you will make this curry more than once, if you were to try.

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Hiya all,
Finally on this day of october the 1st, 2012, I have decided to include the comment form, after a long gap of two years. But, I am going to be a bit selfish here and keep all those nice and lovely things that is said for me and only me to cherish and will be sharing any queries that requires clarifications and your experience about the food if you have tried my recipes. So, drop in a word if you have anything to say and thanks a lot for stopping by.
"Have a nice day"

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